NYS MUSEUM ANNOUNCES AWARDS FOR 10 TOP ILLUSTRATORS (ALBANY, NEW YORK) Ten top illustrators have been selected to receive Jury Awards for their artwork on display in the New York State Museum’s Focus on Nature XII: Natural History Illustration exhibition.

“The Focus on Nature XII exhibition is like no other in the world,” said Mark Schaming, director of the State Museum. “It continues a long New York State tradition of presenting cutting-edge illustrations that reflect the latest knowledge of natural history.”

The Jury Award winners from the United States are Monika E. de Vries Gohlke of Brooklyn, New York; Asuka Hishiki of Briarwood, New York; David C. Killpack of Cedar Hill, Texas; Trudy Nicholson of Cabin John, Maryland.; Jan Christopher Porinchak of Kings Park, New York, and Richard Gary Raham of Wellington, Colorado.  There are two winners from Australia — Debra Bartlett of Mount Dandenong and Beverley Irwin of Toowoomba. The other winners are Neil Jonathan Allen of Salamanca, Spain and Esmée Winkel of Leiden, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands.

Below is the award winning piece by David C. Killpack of Illumination Studios

Illuminated Net Devil – Linophryne arborifera

The Illuminated Netdevil is a deep-sea anglerfish found throughout the world’s tropical and subtropical oceans at depths greater than 3,300 ft (1000 m.) This illustration depicts a pair, showing the dramatic dimorphism between the sexes. The much larger female appears fearsome, but only reaches a maximum of 3 in (7.7 cm), whereas the male is about 0.6 in (1.5 cm). Unable to feed himself after metamorphosis, he must locate a female to survive. Once the tiny male finds a female, his sole purpose is to fertilize her eggs, and he becomes parasitic, attaching to her ventral surface. In a short time, some of his blood vessels permanently merge with her circulatory system that then supplies him with all his nutrition. As if this wasn’t unusual enough, this species is bioluminescent. The light organs of Linophryne arborifera are derived from two sources. The round part of the lure on top of the head, known as the esca, contains mutualistic, bioluminescent bacteria, whereas the seaweed-like hyoid barbels contain complex paracrystalline photogenic granules derived of the fishes’ own tissues.

A five-member jury of artists and scientists selected the Jury Award winners, as well as the pieces on display, based on the illustration’s educational and scientific value, and artistic quality. The jury looked for a high degree of technical skill, scientific accuracy, aesthetics (including composition), unique subjects, viewpoint, format (organic depiction, schematics, diagrams, etc.), and techniques, including traditional, mixed, and entirely computer-generated media.

The exhibition, open through December 31, 2012 in the Photography Gallery, is a biennial juried exhibition that has continued to grow over the past 24 years, both in scope and reputation. This year’s exhibition features 93 natural history illustrations, representing the work of 72 illustrators. These were selected from 503 entries, submitted by 219 artists, up from the 450 submissions by 186 artists in 2010. Approximately one-third of the artists whose work was selected were new to the entry process. Countries represented for the first time are Thailand, Germany, and Switzerland. Other artists participating are from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Portugal. The exhibition’s goals are to demonstrate the important role illustration has in natural science research and education, to stimulate curiosity about the world, and to bring clearly into focus images of nature that people might not otherwise be able to visualize. Many of the illustrations are created for field guides, textbooks, science articles and presentations.

– Excerpts from Exhibition Catalog & Press Release by NYSM – Patricia Kernan, Joanne Guilmette & Albert Gnidica

More information about the exhibition, as well as an online catalog with images and statements by the artists, is available here